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Military suicides up, PTSDers sent back into combat

Military US PTS Military Suicides 2006

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#21 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 15 May 2006 - 11:22 PM

IMO sending soldiers with PTSD back into combat is like sending a recovering alcoholic into a bar....it's just not smart.

The governments needs???? Hell perhaps if they stopped sending troops to every corner of the world the armed forces wouldn't be stretched so thin.

They say they're having problems with recruitment...I have no doubt. What person in their right mind is going to want to sign up to support their country when they've seen how their country doesn't support the troops they have now. Yes, I'm referring to how they arrest and court marshal some of their own soldiers, who were ordered to interrogate prisoners. But when it became politically inconvinent, those same soldiers were thrown to the wolves.

And now this story...Who is going to want to sign up knowing that if they get PTSD they will still send you back to combat????
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#22 Nonny

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:20 AM

View PostLORD of the SWORD, on May 15 2006, 09:22 PM, said:

IMO sending soldiers with PTSD back into combat is like sending a recovering alcoholic into a bar....it's just not smart.
Worse, it's like sending recovering alcoholics into a bar and telling them they have to stay there without telling them when they get to leave.  

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They say they're having problems with recruitment...I have no doubt. What person in their right mind is going to want to sign up to support their country when they've seen how their country doesn't support the troops they have now.
That's why they're taking recruits who would never have passed the psych eval in the past.  

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Yes, I'm referring to how they arrest and court marshal some of their own soldiers, who were ordered to interrogate prisoners. But when it became politically inconvinent, those same soldiers were thrown to the wolves.
Shady dealings there too.  

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And now this story...Who is going to want to sign up knowing that if they get PTSD they will still send you back to combat????
If they can't get enough young kids to come in and talk to them, recruiters procure the phone numbers of high school kids and call them at home.  I understand that when the calls are unwelcome, they are repeated with escalating bullying.  This is not the kind of recruitment the United States Armed Forces has ever had to rely on before and I'm disgusted that it's happening now.  

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#23 Nonny

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:22 AM

View PostZwolf666, on May 15 2006, 08:57 AM, said:

I don't see any upside to putting PTSD people back into combat.  You can't know what they'll do if they break down - they may not only kill themselves, but take some other people with them... and even if they don't do that, they may fold up at the wrong time.  You can't go into combat situations with people who can't be counted on, and if these guys have reached their limit, then that's it.  It's not safe for them, it's not safe for the other guys in their squad, and it's not good for morale, either.  I know we're stretched thin, but jeez, you have to wonder what the higher-ups are thinking.
Exactly!  

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#24 Nonny

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:28 AM

View PostLin731, on May 15 2006, 11:08 AM, said:

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The same as in civilian life where you're expected to show up for work despite "stress".

Are civilians armed to the teeth and patroling hotbeds of terrorist activity where civies also live and work? Do civilians deal with stresses like killing people, seeing their friends killed and maimed on a daily basis?

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The military has a support line to call if you are stressed out over personal issues. If these people didn't want help, but just wanted to die, it's hard to help them if they or their friends don't seek help.

Apparently since they HAD been evaluated medically (enough to determine they were showing signs of PTSD and precribe medication for them) than it seems they DID want help. What they got unfortunately was drugs and a trip back to active duty.
Since many of the drugs prescribed for PTSD can cause suicide ideation, those taking them should be in counseling at the very least, under observation if necessary.  

View PostRhea, on May 15 2006, 12:30 PM, said:

A person working in a workplace in the nice safe U.S. is not the same as a solider with PTSD being sent back into combat - and the article makes clear that they did seek help, and the help they got was a few drugs and a push back into the situation that caused the PTSD in the first place.

You don't send a person with a known mental illness into combat because they're the biggest kind of loose cannon - killing themselves is the least of the problem, the biggest part being that they can't be counted on.
What Lin and Rhea said!  

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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#25 Nonny

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:34 AM

View Postveganmom, on May 15 2006, 02:55 PM, said:

Ogami, re. your comments about WWII soldiers (or any others): those were people who generally signed up during wartime for a full tour. Here, many of these people were National Guardsman, expecting to serve at home (until this "war" and this President...)
I would like to see stats on WWII service members and veterans and suicide.  I wonder if such stats even exist.  For decades, Vietnam vets were sneered at because of PTSD with WWII vets held up as examples.  Then it came out quietly that PTSD support groups for WWII veterans were forming all over the country.  There's one out here in the Coachella Valley that seems to be for Marines exclusively.  They were told to put up, shut up and don't talk about it when they demobbed, but all these years later, they still need to deal with it.  

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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#26 veganmom

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 11:03 AM

Good point(s), Nonny.

#27 Ogami

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 01:29 PM

So if I understand the liberalspeak correctly, the most compassionate position is to not send PTSDers back into combat, and thereby make the people who are in combat do their own jobs along with the work these PTSDers were supposed to do.

I understand this is what I'm supposed to say, as I am very fluent in liberalspeak. I just prefer to give an opinion besides "I feel their pain". That requires zero effort, people. If it's not compassionate to send PTSDers back into combat, then your alternative to the horrors of war is... ?

-Ogami

#28 BklnScott

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 01:31 PM

Mine would be: save the horrors of war for times when it's necessary, not elective.   :whistle:

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#29 veganmom

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 01:48 PM

Alternative to war?
If we are fighting a real threat to humanity and the world, as in WWII, I think more people would sign up to serve their country and mankind.

If we are fighting some petty dictator who was admittedly horrible in his little country (and why us, vs. the people of that country or that region?), and end up trying to fight our way out of the middle of a civil war we didn't anticipate  :eek4: and then find out the whole "WMD/threat to national security" thing was a complete hoax....well, it's hard to get behind that, and it's hard to get troops behind that. That's the root of the problem, really. Not enough people sign up because no one believes we're serving this or any country with this effort.

What you perhaps need is an alternative to leaning so heavily on the National Guard.

If we had a draft -- well, can you imagine the backlash across the country about this war if people were being sent involuntarily?

And Ogami, just because I support the individual troops and don't support Bush and his lies doesn't make me a "liberal," nor do I believe that "liberal" is a dirty word. So don't dismiss people's opinions with the term "liberalspeak" meaning "I don't have to listen to you." Respect other people's opinions. It makes for much better give and take.

Don't imply that it's "liberalspeak" vs. "the truth."
It's everyone's opinions, shared in a discussion.

#30 Lin731

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:14 PM

Ah apparently you don't speak it fluently do ya Ogami. Lemme break it down for ya...Sending soldiers back into combat who are showing the symptoms of PTSD is a danger to them, their fellow soldiers and the civilian population. If you break your foot, are they gonna send you on foot patrol? There are other capacities these soldiers could serve in while getting proper treatment. You've already said you have no frame of reference to PTSD, perhaps once you've been over their and seen some of what these soldiers have, you will then have a better understanding of it. Let's hope you don't get educated on that, I doubt it's a lesson anyone really wants to learn.
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#31 G-man

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:30 PM

Well, a couple of things ...

1.  We've been in Iraq longer than we had fought in WWII.

2.  PTSD is a condition that the military, given it's druthers, would rather deny exists.  Hence the drugs and the orders to return to the post.

3.  People who call the hotline are, for the most part, already beyond help; especially if they've been diagnosed with PTSD and the military sends them back into combat, this is essentially the military denying their cry for help.

4.  The military is bogged down in Iraq.  Ain't no way for them to pull out of it, ain't no way they can survive such a quagmire without employing the draft.  The president has ruled out the draft.  Thus the military is using whatever resources they can lay their hands on to fill out a unit, including those resources that have been diagnosed as unreliable.

As a consequence, this isn't a matter of individuals trying to duck their duty.  They had done their duty, they had suffered for their duty, they have been diagnosed as being unreliable to continue performing their duty, however, given that they are physically intact, as opposed to all the physically injured soldiers, the military has seen fit to call upon these veterans again, and then is simply shocked to find them committing suicide ... and this is what they are admitting to; what are they hiding?

/s/

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#32 Ogami

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:31 PM

Lin wrote:

Lemme break it down for ya...Sending soldiers back into combat who are showing the symptoms of PTSD is a danger to them, their fellow soldiers and the civilian population.

That's simply not true. Anyone who is exhibiting signs of being a danger to themselves or other soldiers will be processed out. I've seen it happen. On the other hand, those who do not show such symptoms but still claim to be too stressed to go back to combat will be sent. See the distinction? I do.

If you break your foot, are they gonna send you on foot patrol? There are other capacities these soldiers could serve in while getting proper treatment.

And that proper treatment would be... avoiding all wars for the duration of their service? Come on, Lin. Don't be that naive. How many people do you think we'd have left on active duty if that was an easy option out of service?

Let's hope you don't get educated on that, I doubt it's a lesson anyone really wants to learn.

Some in the training platoon joked that they were already suffering PTSD, before they even left training. I don't doubt that PTSD is real, but these people who were sent back obviously didn't qualify for the "I'm going to harm myself or others" exit. And Corporal Klinger didn't go home early, sorry.

Ah apparently you don't speak it fluently do ya Ogami.

I feeeeel their pain.... I feel their paaaaaain... I feel their pain.

See? Who needs to have an opinion on an issue? Just feel compassion, and you skip everything else over any question. Maybe I should switch philosophies, it looks like a lot less work than what I've been doing on issues thus far.

-Ogami

#33 veganmom

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:36 PM

Ummmmm still a little disrespectful, there.
Throw in the OCCASIONAL "I see what you're saying," willya?

I don't think anyone here is trying to skip over issues. You're totally disparaging anyone's opinions who don't agree with you. That's not a debate style. You can't just say, "Nuh uh" to EVERYTHING.

And if we're all wrong and naive, why are you wasting your time with us???   :D

Just aiming for "healthy discussion."

#34 Ogami

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:53 PM

Veganmom, I think that the only approved response to this thread is to nod your head and say "Yes, those with PTSD deserve compassion, the military is wrong, too bad for anyone affected by them not participating as their duty calls for."

This is what everyone else says, everyone hugs on how compassionate they are, everyone pats themselves on the back for their immense feelings, and it feels like something has been accomplished.

I post only to say there could be another view, that's all. And I recognize it is the minority approach on this board to post to a thread of back-slapping compassion, and say "there's something else to consider". But that won't change on my part.

I call it like I see it, and it's a statement of fact that it's easy to just say you don't want to see these people who are stressed go out to combat. Okay, fine. Then what? We abandon those who have to fight without them? Do we institute the Draft to cover the shortfall?

In other words, just how many other people do you advocate punishing in order to express that compassion for PTSDers? It's an absence of responsibility to just say you care about their feelings and leave it at that. And I believe it's gutless. Anyone who disagrees with the "compassion bandwagon" is the one that's slapped down. So I return your own question to you, where's the debate? I'm open to discussion, it seems closed to me from the other side.

-Ogami

Edited by Ogami, 16 May 2006 - 02:55 PM.


#35 veganmom

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 03:02 PM

You're right in saying that dismissing people suffering from PTSD will increase the burden on others. But should staffing plans have made the assumption that there will be a certain amount of physical and mental injury and staffed accordingly?

I know it puts a burden on those who are left. But do you want the guy next to you, who's got your back, to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown? That leaves troops not trusting each other, and military cohesiveness goes down the tubes.

I want to believe that the great military minds of this country understood, based on history, that there would be some troop fallout. Lack of planning and sufficient troops (due to many, many factors) shouldn't mean that those that are unfit to serve, and who are a danger to those around them, should be required to go back into it.

In other words, just how many other people do you advocate punishing in order to express that compassion for PTSDers? It's an absence of responsibility to just say you care about their feelings and leave it at that. And I believe it's gutless.

Well, very few of us here can do more than state our opinions and leave it at that. Unless someone here is a high-up military commander or advisor to the President, that's all we can do. It's not gutless. Discussions like this are not worthless, either, just because they do not result in direct action. They help to clarify positions, and that will come into play during the next election cycle.

I don't advocate "punishing" anyone, especially in this mess GW and his administration have made (yes, he owns it, from the lying start to the unplanned-for post-war clean-up and stabilization). I am dismayed at the lack of planning for this inevitable contingency.

#36 Call Me Robin

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 04:48 PM

View PostOgami, on May 15 2006, 10:31 PM, said:

But I am fully qualified to comment on the liberal tendency to view everyone as a victim, to make everyone think they are a victim of something or someone.

For the entire time I went to public school, we had liberals scaring schoolchildren into believing that this was the toughest generation to grow up in. Why, we all might be nuked out of existence! We should all just be in a state of quivering terror, unless the government comes in to save us. This is the mentality liberals have pushed on entire generations of Americans. I'm not surprised to see people getting stressed out over the fact that some people want to kill Americans. But is this a new stress, or something old to civilization?
-Ogami

Ogami, did you grow up in a foreign country?  I'm serious.  I went to public school and so did most of my friends.  None of us encountered what you're describing.  This mentality is nothing any of us recognize.  Maybe the European nations were frightened to be caught between the US and the USSR in the event of World War III.  Were you living in Europe, by any chance?
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#37 Ogami

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 05:25 PM

Veganmom wrote:

You're right in saying that dismissing people suffering from PTSD will increase the burden on others. But should staffing plans have made the assumption that there will be a certain amount of physical and mental injury and staffed accordingly?

Of course there is. But the military will have already discharged anyone shown to be a real danger to themselves or their fellow soldiers. For those who remain, PTSD or no, they have to serve. If the military let anyone go home who felt stressed at the notion of people trying to kill them, well take a number. The line would be a long one! It's not realistic to send everyone home who fits that description, and PTSD is a huge catch-all.

I know it puts a burden on those who are left. But do you want the guy next to you, who's got your back, to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown? That leaves troops not trusting each other, and military cohesiveness goes down the tubes.

Read any book on units in Vietnam or WWII. The guy showing those signs would be sent back to the rear for observation. Yes, even in WWII. If they recovered sufficiently to function (again, in the military's judgment), then they were sent back to the front. That's what war is, you use all assets.

For a good explanation of the ways people will try to get out of their military obligations, read the opening chapters of Anthony Swofford's Jarhead. Most people sign up to the military hoping they'll never be in combat. But I'd say we're in a war from all appearances...

I want to believe that the great military minds of this country understood, based on history, that there would be some troop fallout. Lack of planning and sufficient troops (due to many, many factors) shouldn't mean that those that are unfit to serve, and who are a danger to those around them, should be required to go back into it.

I understand there are leftist organizations who want to chip away at the readiness of America's military. These organizations have no interest in having a better or more efficient U.S. military, they want it gone completely. Indeed, such groups couch their criticism not in terms of fixing anything or helping soldiers. Their criticism is based on the notion that the U.S. military is the focus of evil in the modern world. I would take a serious look at the agenda of such groups before jumping on any bandwagon to bash the military. The military has an agenda, so do groups opposed to them. I try to bear that in mind when looking at any criticism of military policy. What is the source, and what is their ultimate goal?

With many leftist groups, their goal is not helping the soldier, or helping America fight its wars. Quite the opposite.

Well, very few of us here can do more than state our opinions and leave it at that. Unless someone here is a high-up military commander or advisor to the President, that's all we can do. It's not gutless. Discussions like this are not worthless, either, just because they do not result in direct action. They help to clarify positions, and that will come into play during the next election cycle.

All presidential candidates say they care about individual soldiers. But I watch candidates who spend the bulk of their time attacking the U.S. military. They have followers who view America's military as the true terrorist threat facing the world, and such candidates won't get my vote.

I don't advocate "punishing" anyone, especially in this mess GW and his administration have made (yes, he owns it, from the lying start to the unplanned-for post-war clean-up and stabilization). I am dismayed at the lack of planning for this inevitable contingency.

It's been my experience that I'm not welcome on military-bashing threads like this. Not because I'm mean to anyone, but because I think through where such topics lead: Okay, it's a given that if people don't want to go to war, they shouldn't have to. What then? Well, it adversely affects those who were counting on them to do their job. Their fellow soldiers, who might very well die without their assistance. Under-strength units are a very serious problem. Do we replace such losses with the draft? And would such a politically-unpopular draft disgrace a certain president? That's the ultimate run of threads like these, which start with the perfectly reasonable premise of compassion for stressed soldiers.

-Ogami

Edited by Ogami, 16 May 2006 - 05:29 PM.


#38 Ogami

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 05:26 PM

Call Me Robin wrote:

This mentality is nothing any of us recognize.

Ah, so I was mistaken when the entire left (for an entire decade) screamed that "cowboy" Reagan was going to nuke us all with his warmongering? I must have imagined that rhetoric, my mistake.

-Ogami

#39 Call Me Robin

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:31 PM

View Postveganmom, on May 16 2006, 06:48 PM, said:

Alternative to war?
If we are fighting a real threat to humanity and the world, as in WWII, I think more people would sign up to serve their country and mankind.

Especially the 101st Fighting Keyboardists.   :lol:  :lol:  :lol:
Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.
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The fanatic is not really a stickler to principle. He embraces a cause not primarily because of its justness or holiness but because of his desperate need for something to hold onto.
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#40 G-man

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:13 AM

I don't know, it seems to me a critical point is being ignored here.

There was an increase in the number of suicides amongst service members serving in Iraq.  Alarmingly, many of them had previously been diagnosed with PTSD, yet were given anti-depressants and sent back.  IOW, they had been diagnosed as a danger to themselves, were sent back, and lo and behold, they commit suicide.  

This is an example of the military taking, what I'm sure they believe, is a calculated risk in reintegrating PTSD victims back into their units to flesh out the roster, in light of the fact that the military is no longer able to adequately replenish their ranks with fresh recruits.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus



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